Dunes I assume you are talking about marksmanship here because survival’s focus regen rate is still quite low. For survival it seems to be around 30 seconds to go from 0 to full so they have a rate closer to 3.5 focus regen/sec. They have 1 baseline focus builder with a 6 second cooldown (25% to not go on cd) and it only regens 15 focus (half of a single raptor strike). Serpent sting suffers from the same duration problem for survival and costs 20 focus for them to use (so 33% more than their 1 baseline focus generator can generate per use).
Disclaimer: Keep in mind for the first two tests I was spending 1 Precise Shots charge after every Aimed Shot during the Trueshot window.
Trueshot Initial Testing:
Calling the Shots
This setup initially felt extremely weird to play with. Trueshot does not decrease the channel time of Rapid Fire so having Streamline interrupted the flow of the cooldown a lot.
Aimed Shot ends up over-capping on charges during the middle of the extended Rapid Fire cast time. This is a problem because we are then losing out on the damage from Aimed Shot. There is always the possibility to interrupt Rapid Fire but that really feels bad to do.
Lethal Shots with Streamline make the problem worse outside of Trueshot because Rapid Fire is up so often and lasts so long, that if you cast it above ~50 focus you end up overcapping Focus during its channel time.
So for the problem of overcapping resources I have the following suggestions:
Drop Streamline in favor of one of our Azerite traits such as Surging Shots (resetting Rapid Fire’s CD after an AiS cast) for the level 35 row.
In the 45 row, I think we need something a lot more reliable to compete with Dead Eye and Double Tap. What about bringing an instant cast Windburst back from Legion Marksmanship? Otherwise, I don’t think Lethal Shots is going to compete with Double Tap or Dead Eye.
Second Trueshot Test:
Serpent Sting (second test with this build done using AMoC)
Lock and Load
This talent build was a strange one. Despite our focus regen increase, I still found myself having difficulty fitting Serpent Sting in among my Aimed Shot and Precise Shots charges. During Trueshot, I’d have to choose between letting SS fall off, or overcapping AiS/Precise Shots charges. Which I’d rather not overcap on AiS to be honest. The need to choose feels really bad during our “big moment” cooldown.
However, the focus regen is also still too little to NOT overcap on AiS charges during the cooldown if you spend any Precise Shots. This leads me to one of my conclusions that I’ll get into at the end of the post regarding Trueshot.
Lock and Load procced twice during my ~2 minute testing round with this build. I think it needs a bump or to just be made baseline with the 5% proc chance. It really doesn’t seem to be anywhere near as impactful as Calling the Shots for single target or Volley for AoE. It just isn’t reliable at all, which would be fine if it was at least able to proc a little more often.
Chimaera Shot was nice to use just after an AiS cast. I wonder still if it is supposed to generate focus? It felt cool to have another low-ish cooldown ability to press.
AMoC was used in a a second test for this build and I found that it felt fine to press without too much drain on my focus, a huge plus in comparison to how it feels in BfA.
Final Trueshot Test:
Calling the Shots
This last setup had a very BfA MM feel but felt worse to play with. Because Master Marksman is no longer reducing the amount of Precise Shots we waste, you can no longer spend your focus on Precise Shots during Trueshot or you will cap on AiS charges.
Essentially your rotation during Trueshot is: AiS, AiS, Rapid Fire, AiS, AiS, Rapid Fire. But for lack of better words, feels bad man…
Steady Focus feels entirely useless. I’d rarely cast Steady Shot more than 2-3 times, so only that last cast would be reduced to a 0.94 cast time. Kind of pointless in the grand scheme of things honestly. I really hope this talent can be worked into something else, but I’m really not sure what it could be.
Trueshot: Currently there are two problems with it. If you spend all your charges of abilities during it, you end up focus starved and unable to continue spending your charges, thereby overcapping charges of AiS and Precise Shots. If you spend all your AiS charges, you end up wasting about 6-10 casts of Precise Shots damage. A secondary problem is that you end up losing out on some of your other talents such as Serpent Sting due to the very short duration of that DoT.
- Solution 1: Have Trueshot reduce the focus cost of Aimed Shot so we can spend all of our Precise Shots if that is the intended way to use the cooldown.
- Solution 2: Precise Shots changed in a way so that it is not inserted after every Aimed Shot during Trueshot (or at baseline).
- Solution 3: Remove Precise Shots entirely.
Steady Focus: This talent is unfortunately pretty lackluster in any setup due to how infrequently you chain cast Steady Shot.
Streamline: Is extremely disruptive to the flow of the spec and it feels bad with the increased focus regen in Shadowlands because it can overcap your focus too easily.
Serpent Sting: Needs a longer duration for it to feel like a fun part of our rotation.
Master Marksman: Feels fine and is no longer the default option.
Careful Aim: If you wanted to bake a talent in to our class, this would be it (remove the <20% execute though as we have Kill Shot back).
Chimaera Shot: Unsure if this is supposed to generate focus? This could also be replaced by an instant cast Windburst without causing too many ripples I think.
Lethal Shots: Does not feel good to choose next to more reliable options like Dead Eye and Double Tap.
Calling the Shots: I’m not a fan of this talent just because Trueshot feels bad to use so often due to resource issues.
Lock and Load: Simply does not proc enough to feel good to use.
Yes, I edited my post for clarity, thank you!
There’s plenty of justification to do the things that I’ve listed. Survival’s main damage is Mongoose Bite not Serpent Sting. I go look at logs for survival Hunter all of them tell me the same thing. Serpent Sting is generally behind Wildfire Bombs and Melee on the logs I’m looking at. Also, Serpent Sting has been a part of all Hunter Specs since Classic yet you seem to believe it’s a Survival Staple when it was Mostly a Melee Spec that buffed Melee Attacks in Classic. When in Wrath it changed to having Black Arrow/Explosive Shot , etc. Marksmanship up until Cataclysm had Improved Stings as a talent (in the first row) where they then moved it to Survival for 1 expansion where they then changed the talent trees to what we have now. If you’re willing to post some actual suggestions or reasons as to why they do not deserve these kinds of changes instead of saying because they’re not justifiable i’m willing to have a conversation.
Comparing what used to be versus what currently is now is meaningless. Serpent sting is a staple for survival and you’ll see wildfire bombs over serpent sting in current BFA logs because Birds of Prey talent + the azerite trait that modifies it + essences like VoP minor and memory of lucid dreams major means the rotation for survival currently is to spam kill command and mongoose bite and only use bombs if those aren’t available because bombs don’t cost focus. Outside that window you keep serpent sting up. Survival also has serpent sting as a baseline ability and 3 different talents that affect serpent sting, so it’s clearly intended to be a staple of survival.
So, what you’re saying is that after you do all of that and everything else is down all you’re doing is keeping Serpent Sting up? Making it sit as the backdoor ability like I suggested for Marksman? Where it currently resides as a talent in a row that it’ll never be taken. Also, I’m currently looking at their talents on Alpha and they only have 2 for Serpent Sting. What’s the third? What’s the justification to not allow Marksman to have a more interactive rotation. Go on Hunter Forums and read what the Majority wants vs the Minority that play Melee Survival. Blizzard hasn’t listened to Hunters in a long time.
Your rotation explained to me.
Mongoose Bite, Kill Command > Bombs > Serpent Sting.
For a baseline ability Serpent Sting sits pretty far back in the rotation you’ve explained.
The rotation during your cooldown is MB > KC > Bombs > Serpent Sting, outside it’s SS > MB > KC > Bombs. So when the stuff from BFA goes away that encourages/allows you to have nearly 100% uptime of your cooldown then it reverts to SS being priority especially because one of the few changes they made was to buff the dot of SS for survival. I’m not sure why you’re arguing with me about this, Blizzard has made it pretty clear that serpent sting is a major ability for survival. It’s one of only three baseline abilities that is affected by their mastery.
I’d like to make a suggestion for Blizzard regarding Marksmanship.
Bring back Marked Shots.
Or at least the visuals. Here’s why:
While Legion MM wasn’t perfect, the way the procs worked in tandem with each other made for a really engaging playstyle. Some people said they were too closely linked (like aimed shot dmg relying on marked etc), but at the very least it was fun to see those buttons light up and give you windows to do insane damage.
Best of all was the visual.
Especially if we’d able to double up the marked shots (like with double tap for example), the look of watching your bolts fire into a crowd and seek out targets you’ve previously made vulnerable was so damn satisfying.
Best of all, they could be spread out, and we’d still hit them! So long as they had been close enough to be struct by our multishot previously. This was so badass to watch, AND we got to follow it up by sending out a crushing Aimed Shot after.
BFA’s Rapid Fire was a nice idea, but the visuals (just a bunch of marked shots one after another) end up looking silly instead of cool, and once your foes spread out even a little, you’ve lost any and all AOE you were going for.
Bring it back, Blizzard, even if you want to change the mechanics or damage numbers or proc chances, it was a fun and visually engaging mechanic that was as close as we’ll get in this game to Gun-Kata!
Following up on the graphic of Marked Shot, another thing I miss was the beautiful visuals of the Wind Arrows of Thas’dorah that would ALSO hit the marked targets made vulnerable. The other was the Wind Arrows that would follow our aimed shots.
It was such a gorgeous addition to an already cool series of spells, and it feels like a waste to not use or bring back those visuals in some way. We’re already going back into previous expansions for spells, why not make use of that once again?
Lastly, Piercing Shot should make a return, or at the very least use that visual too. Our Aimed Shot is pretty uninspiring, as are most of our basic spells now (except maybe Arcane Shot). Give Hunters in general the visual upgrade we’ve needed for a while.
Ranged Survival Hunter
So just for fun, I tried out this unconventional build in alpha and ya know what, it was a blast and shockingly effective! I can’t speak to exact numbers yet, but I cleared every quest and killed all the mobs, of which I corralled like crazy.
These are the spells I used:
- Alpha Predator
- Guerrilla Tactics
- Flanking Strike
When you equip a Ranged Weapon, select these talents and use them on cooldown, you actually get quite a powerhouse of ranged abilities that feel like you’re playing a full ranged class. And honestly, I couldn’t tell after a while, steamrolling through the content much faster than MM and possibly BM (far more layered AOE spells & dots).
If anyone would like to try this out, I’d love to hear your opinion on viability and numbers (even though I know it’s just alpha and nothing is in stone just yet). I had fun and realized that with a couple tweaks, this could genuinely be, perhaps not the Survival we remember, but a really fun 3rd ranged spec!
I’m glad you are having fun and if this is how you want to level that’s great. However, you can already do this method on live and I can assure you it’s not an effective mean to dps. The loss of raptor strike/mongoose bite from the rotation leaves you dumping your focus into serpent sting and only serpent sting so for leveling it works, for raid/mythic+/whatever else it’s not going to be effective.
Recount shows this to be between 425-500 dps, normal build do around 625~650ish, most other specs doing 600-900 dps (frost mage, fire mage, aff lock, marksman, enhancement, elemental, and subtley to be among those I tested). Tanks run around 400 dps, mistweaver also around 400 dps, all of these are with the premades but you get the general jist. It’s not dps level dps, but it’s above tanks I guess for now? I also had to arcane shot to get it to mark, it was a bit lower without using arcane because you have nothing to dump focus into.
MM Marked Shots = Primordial Bolt
So the upcoming Necrolord spell for Ele Shaman is Primordial Bolt, which does exactly what I recommended we bring back to MM Hunters in my previous post:
- “Your next Lava Burst will also hit ALL targets affected by your Flame Shock”
ie: Marked Shots.
Blizzard, why would you take this away from Hunters and just repackage it for Shaman 2 expansions later? I certainly want every class to win, but this was such an awesome part of the MM kit, and now it’s been given to a shaman covenant?
A point of pain for MM is that Trick Shots only procs off of 3+ targets, and our Multi Shot only hits 5. So we have a very narrow range where we can even do Trick Shots. With the global reduction in AoE capabilities, it would feel great to have Trick Shots proc off of two targets.
That’s a perk of volley I believe. It procs trick shots regardless of the number of targets and isn’t restricted to 5 targets.
I was just going to say, I really like the part where I get to choose and tame my own first pet at level 5, I often wanted a different starting pet and had to stable the first one so I could go get what I wanted, now I have a choice. It’s a nice touch.
Arcane Shot feels a bit slower then usual. That is the main thing I have noticed so far.
Marksmanship Aimed Shot Glyph idea:
Kneeling whilst Aimed Shot (and Sniper Shot) is charging.
Such a simple but flavorful animation that would make us actually look like proper Sharpshooters.
To give back MM the old synergy between dot and other abilities, giving the Serpent Sting talent on the first row the chance to reset Rapid Fire like Surging Shot Azerite talent, also removing Murder of Crows and replacing it with Black Arrow, with it having a synergy with aimed shot allowing for a proc of casting while moving. to make it more competitive with Master Marskman. Careful Aim should be baseline to MM, Volley as an aoe talent belongs with Barrage and explosive shot. Having it on the 50 row and having Careful Aim on the aoe row makes very little sense. if we were to work Careful Aim into MM baseline we can move Volley up to be a competitive talent in AOE and think of something new and powerful for level 50 to be competitive with Calling the Shots. Chimaera shot feels like it needs to have focus generation added on (might be a bug) and to make it even a choice i feel Streamline needs to have Focused Fire azerite trait worked into it.
First tier talent Dire beast should once again be a choice of play-style over barbed shot. It would work better with the new scent of blood, allowing more Pet oriented play-style like a master of beasts should be. Stampeded should be baseline, or reverted to original form, Replace stampede with Dire beast Hawk.
Put Dire beast Basilisk On the 50 lvl talent row Given a choice of more pets for beast mastery. The change to allow dire beast being your big generator again allows the Spitting cobra talent to shine more, Due to how much focus you can generate based off the new talent scent of blood alone. Also Primal Instinct azerite was a huge power spike for BM which should be baked into Aspect of the wild. If we are to stay with Barbed-shot is there any reason why it shouldn’t crit!?
You gave survival a lot of extra ranged abilities with the un-pruning, So why not replace some of the talents that are currently not performing at all with more ranged focus in mind, allowing survival hunters to talent into being ranged trap throwing dot class it once again. For example. Allow the very first Talents for survival to be a Choice of equipping a ranged specialist or melee. Then the rest of the talents being based off the choice of the first row.
Or another idea for survival is have flanking strike replace kill command, And have survival be more synergistic with the pet. Example, have the Idea from Beast masters Killer cobra be integrated into raptor strike and kill command. Buff Kill commands damage in relation or replace it as the generator and have it be a spender. And have the generation from Survival be from pet autos or wildfire bomb usage. As it stands the mastery doesn’t make sense to survival if there is no real pet synergy. This change to survivals gameplay would be more in line.
That they can’t use.
A talent that emphasizes 2hander, dual wield, or ranged (I love it).
Survival mastery is already avoided because it doesn’t affect the majority of their toolkit then for some reason they nerfed it to give even less % per point of mastery for alpha. It’s basically the same throughput mastery marksman had with a different rider, but they realized it was bad and changed marksmans version to apply to all their shots and left survivals. Kill shot is the only dps ability they added survival can use and it doesn’t benefit from their mastery =(
I’m assuming there will be feedback slowly over the alpha. Is there any actionable feedback that the team is looking at so far? And if not, how can we focus the feedback better for your design team?
I know you want to hear about things that can be removed and so far I really have the following things:
At a baseline, Marksmanship works pretty well, but these talents are awkward to use and make the gameplay really weird.
Otherwise, my only suggestions are additions to existing talents and abilities like Trueshot (outlined in my post above).
I’d like to reiterate that I think some of the Marksmanship talents are in need of complete redesigns.
Lots of our talents don’t have any synergy with how the spec plays. They don’t provide bonuses or interact with our passives at all. They’re just extra buttons. Which is great and introduces new things to do, but adds minimal complexity to the spec.
On our first row, Master Marksman will be the go-to option later in the expansion because the added damage on Aimed Shot will outweigh the extra GCD’s spent on such a low duration Serpent Sting. And AMOC is fun when you get resets, but has no interaction with our kit besides that.
Careful Aim will similarly be chosen against Explosive Shot and Barrage because it increases our main nuke damage while the others just add an extra button without any synergy with the spec.
Streamline and Steady Focus are pretty boring/useless and Chimaera will be chosen but provides us with no benefit besides an extra button to hit.
Lethal Shots is fine but I personally dislike it because it doesn’t provide a concrete benefit like Dead Eye and Double Tap.
Calling the Shots is just too beneficial compared to Lock and Load to ever pick the latter.
I love Volley. Not sure it belongs on this row or next to Barrage/ExS? But next to those two, Volley is the default choice because it improves our AoE massively compared to the other two talents.
Our tree is missing some… spice and flavor. Something to make the different options interesting and fun. And I hope that my continued advocacy for talent reworks will reach you guys.
Thanks for your hard work, and please know we are rooting for some big changes to MM!